June 30, 2004

Contact: Bill Myers, University Libraries, (785) 864-8921.

Statements by dean, colleague on death of KU librarian Jan Altenbernd

NOTE: The Murphy Art and Architecture Library will be closed from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, July 1, during the Jan Altenbernd memorial service.

LAWRENCE -- Stella Bentley, dean of libraries at the University of Kansas, and Susan Craig, art and architecture librarian and head of the Murphy Art and Architecture Library at KU, made the following statements today in response to the death of Jan Altenbernd, library assistant. Altenbernd, who died Saturday at age 51 after a short illness, joined the KU Libraries as a graduate student assistant in 1977, entered the classified service in 1979 with Watson Library and began working at the Murphy Art and Architecture Library in 1981, where she remained.

Stella Bentley, dean of libraries:

"Jan Altenbernd demonstrated the kind of engagement with students that I hope defines the KU Libraries. Consequently, her work with faculty was most often related to their teaching -- ensuring that the appropriate library materials would be available for the students in those courses. Her years of leadership with the Libraries Classified Conference, including two years as president, similarly demonstrate her commitment to her colleagues. Her commitment to service remains an example for all of us to aspire toward."

Susan Craig, art and architecture librarian and head of the Murphy Art and Architecture Library:

"Jan Altenbernd's job was to oversee the library's circulation services, so she was most often the person who assisted anyone who approached the desk. Jan was dedicated to helping students find information and to making the library a welcoming environment. As the supervisor of over 200 student employees over the years, she hired, trained, evaluated and then kept in touch with many of them long after graduation. She also was a presence in the lives of many of the undergraduate and graduate students who used the library and who benefited from her knowledge of art, architecture and design and her years of experience with KU and the library. Jan's devotion to KU -- its students, faculty and staff -- will be sorely missed."

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